Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, 12 March 2015
The much-touted trial of Abuga Pele, the former National Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) now GYEEDA and Philip Akpeena Assibit, CEO of Goodwill International Group (GIG) could not proceed as scheduled yesterday because the prosecution failed to bring a witness to the court.
As a result, the trial judge, Justice Afia Asare-Botwe, had to adjourn proceedings until Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18, for the seventh prosecution witness (PW7) to testify.
It was about the seventh time the trial of the former NYEP Coordinator who is also the MP for Chiana-Paga in the Upper East Region and his co-accused Assibit was being adjourned.
So far, Nuru Hamidan former NYEP Deputy National Coordinator in charge of Operations and now MCE for Asokore Mampong, Gladys Ghartey current Head of United Nations Systems at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mohammed Pelpuo, Head of the Business Development Unit at NYEP as well as Clement Kofi Humado, former Minister of Youth and Sports have since testified and cross-examined.
Dr. Shaibu Ahmed Gariba, who until September 2014 was the Director General of Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) told the court as well as an Accountant attached to the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Eric Sunu have also testified and cross-examined.
When the case was called yesterday, Mrs Evelyn Keelson, prosecuting told the judge that the next witness was still not back from an official assignment.
“Our witness has an official assignment as I indicated to the court at the last adjourned date and unfortunately, he is still not back.”
Mrs. Keelson told the court that the AG’s Department only got to know about the absence of the witness at the last hour and that made it impossible for them to inform the judge ahead of time.
The trial judge was not happy with the prosecution’s ‘tactics’ and complained that she had to adjourn a number of cases she was handling in order to make room for the instant case which could not come off.
Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit are standing trial for the various roles they played, which the Attorney General’s Department said caused huge financial loss to the state.
The MP is accused of wilfully causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢3,330,568.53 while Assibit is being tried for defrauding the state of an amount equivalent to $1,948,626.68.
The two have pleaded not guilty and are currently on bail. They were present in court yesterday.
The NDC MP is facing six counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state under Section 179A (3) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 Act 29, two counts of abetment under Sections 20(1) and 131(1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and one count of intentionally misapplying public property, contrary to Section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140.
Mr. Assibit, who is the first accused person on the other hand, is facing six counts of defrauding by false pretences, contrary to Section 131(1) of the Criminal and Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) and five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property contrary to Section 2(1) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140.